When A Loss Becomes A Win…

 

A walk-off “Gift”…

 

Gift.JPG

 

With the Yankees trailing the Mets 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound, Brett Gardner started the inning with a pop-out.  Derek Jeter came up next and hit a solid single up the middle.  Johnny Damon worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a splitter from K-Rod.  Mark Teixeira came to the plate and K-Rod was determined to give him nothing to hit.  His first three pitches to Tex missed the strike zone, so manager Charlie Manuel decided not to take any chances and gave Tex a free pass.  Alex Rodriguez was up next…A-Rod versus K-Rod.

 

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The setting was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback.  The YES Network’s Michael Kay indicated that any win by the Yankees would be a walk-off win (statement of the obvious?), and they have had six walk-off wins so far this year.  The stars seemed to be aligned for A-Rod to be the hero.  Like with Tex, K-Rod threw the first three pitches outside of the strike zone and A-Rod didn’t bite.  The fourth pitch came in for a called strike.  With a 3-1 hitter’s count, A-Rod got under the next pitch and lifted a pop fly to short right field.  Second baseman Luis Castillo charged under the ball and it appeared to land in his glove.  A-Rod slammed his bat into the ground, and started to gently run to first base.  The feeling of defeat sunk in, and I was thinking that the Yankees had just lost their fourth consecutive game.  But miraculously, the ball hit Castillo’s glove and bounced out. 

 

Noah K. Murray/New York Daily News 

 

Castillo slid to the ground so he wasn’t able to get up immediately to retrieve the ball.  When he did get up, he threw the ball to the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Cora.  Derek Jeter had already scored the tying run, but third base coach Rob Thomson had sent Teixeira home.  Cora fired the ball to catcher Omir Santos, but it was too late…Tex had already scored the winning run…

 

DON'T MESS WITH TEX: Mark Teixeira celebrates, surrounded by his Yankees teammates, after scoring the winning run after Mets second baseman dropped a potential game-ending pop-up by Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, giving the Bombers a 9-8 win in Game 1 of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium.

UPI (Courtesy New York Post)

 

Whoa, talk about high drama!  After the game, A-Rod was being interviewed and Kimberly Jones mentioned that Francisco Rodriguez hadn’t blown a save this season.  A-Rod responded, “He still hasn’t”.  True, but I’ll take it…

Richard Perry/The New York Times

 

The Yankees should have given the pie in the face to Castillo…

 

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The Yankees had started the scoring with a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the second inning.  I was a bit frustrated the next inning when Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter.  Carlos Beltran drew a walk to bring home a run.  After David Wright struck out, Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to bring home Alex Cora.  So, with no hits in the 3rd, the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead over the Yanks.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees regained the lead, 3-2, with a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira.  Joba Chamberlain was pulled after four innings.  Although he only gave up one hit and two runs, he walked 5 and had two hit by pitches.  So, to start the 5th inning, Manager Joe Girardi brought in Brett Tomko.  My first reaction, of course, was “Ugh!”.  Unfortunately, as they say, always trust your first instinct.  Carlos Beltran doubled and subsequently stole third.  David Wright walked.  Ryan Church doubled to score Beltran and Wright.  The Mets had the lead, 4-3.  Former Yankee Gary Sheffield came up and promptly hit a two-run homer, his 505th, to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3.  Isn’t there a minor league team somewhere (anywhere but Scranton/Wilkes Barre!) that could use Tomko?  He needs to go wherever it is that Julia wants Julio Lugo to go…or where Mets fans want Luis Castillo to go…

 

 

In the bottom of the 5th, Derek Jeter cut the deficit to 6-4 with a solo home run.  In the 6th, with Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada at first and second, thanks to a single and walk, the birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, slammed a three-run homer to allow the Yanks to recapture the lead, 7-6.  Happy 35th Birthday to Godzilla!

 

Marc Carig/The Star Ledger

 

The Mets tied the score, 7-7, in the 7th on a double play grounder by Fernando Tatis with men on the corners. 

Phil Coke retired the first two Mets in the top of the 8th, but then, in a surprising move, Joe Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game to face Carlos Beltran.  In recent years, Mo has pretty much become a one inning relief specialist.  It started in the latter years of the Joe Torre era as a way to keep Mo healthy.  I suppose Joe didn’t want to take any chances with the dangerous Beltran at the plate and preferred to see Mo get four outs as opposed to three.  Unfortunately, the move backfired.  Beltran drew a walk, and the next batter, David Wright doubled to center field, scoring Beltran.  The Mets had taken an 8-7 lead.  It was three up and three down against Mo in the 9th, and the stage was set for the dramatic comeback win…

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog had a great story after the game.  Joba’s three-year old son, Karder, was in the clubhouse  and he interrupted the reporters talking to Joba by asking, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes!”.  Joba responded, “He knows me.  Pretty scary, huh?”  That’s funny stuff!  Of course, it’s easier to laugh about it when your team escapes with a 9-8 win rather than an 8-7 loss.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

This game was yet another example for why Mark Teixeira ranks as one of the greatest free agent signings in Yankees history.  It remains to be seen if he has the post-season success of, say, Reggie Jackson, but so far, he’s earned every bit of his huge contract.

 

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

 

The Yankees remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in extra innings, 5-2.  I had warned Julia about late inning heroics by the Phillies’ Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  Howard came through with a game-tying 9th inning home run, but the Phillies couldn’t muster any magic in extra innings against the Red Sox bullpen.

 

Sox overcome Phillies in 13

AP 

 

So, the Yankees remain one of baseball’s best teams, so long as they aren’t at Fenway Park or playing the Red Sox…

 

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DC Comics

 

OTHER “OFF TOPIC” STUFF…

Everyone doubted the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chances and until Game 7, the team with home ice had won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals.  So, with Game 7 in Detroit, it appeared that the odds were stacked in the Red Wings’ favor.  The Pens took a 2-0 lead after two periods, but you knew that the third period would be a ‘free for all’.  The Red Wings played at a kinetic pace.  You could definitely tell that there was a sense of urgency in their game, and they did appear to be the superior team on the ice for that period.  They were able to score a goal to close the gap.  The game hung in the balance down to the final seconds.  Even with 6 seconds or so, you knew that the Red Wings were capable of scoring the tying goal. 

Fortunately, it was not meant to be and the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions!  It was a great game, a great series, and a great win by a deserving team.  Granted, it would have been better (at least for me) had the San Jose Sharks won the Stanley Cup, or perhaps even Julia‘s Boston Bruins, but short of that, the Penguins are a worthy champion!

 

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette 

 

Now, hopefully, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy awaits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night…

 


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The Brett Favre “fiasco” continues.  The Vikings apparently have sent a coach and their head trainer to Mississippi to track the health of QB Brett Favre.  No word on which coach made the trip, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has prior history with Favre during their time in Green Bay together.  I really think this issue needs closure soon.  Otherwise, it risks becoming a huge distraction for the team.  The 2009 Vikings have a great deal of potential.  I like many of the young guys, and I am excited about what Percy Harvin will mean to the offense if properly utilized.  Guys like center John Sullivan and safety Tyrell Johnson will step up and fill the voids caused by the departures of veterans Matt Birk and Darren Sharper.  Regardless of what Favre decides to do, the Vikings will be in contention this year.  I am not ready to anoint them Super Bowl contenders, but they have the potential for great things.  At this point, I am ready to let Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels fight it out, and let Favre starting counting his days for entry into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.  But, of course, if he does sign with the Vikes, so be it…

 

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Have a great weekend!

GO YANKEES!

–Scott

8 Comments

Neither of our teams had “pretty wins” but they were wins none the less. What is it with the Yankees and dropped baseball lately? lol! Yes – it would have been much better for me if the Bruins had won the Stanley Cup. There was an article in the Boston Globe this morning – did you know that since 1968 only 15 different teams have won the Stanley Cup? My Bruins are on the list (they’ve won twice), Montreal has won it 10 times – but the Sharks? They don’t seem to have made the list! ; And I’m sorry Scott, but I can not root for your Lakers tomorrow night. While I’m old enough to remember when it was the Celtics – 76ers who were intense rivals, it’s still “The Lakers”. I’ll say this – I hope you enjoy the game! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Wow, what a win!! That’s one of the things I love about baseball: it might seem like you’re about to lose, but then the game surprises you :)
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

That was a crazy win. Those pics of Luis Castillo are great. And that beaver pic was great too.
-Dillon
http://dillonm.mlblogs.com

What a nutty game. Now that the glow of victory has faded a bit, I’m starting to worry about Joba. He just isn’t getting it done. What was with all the shaking off of Jorge? And then that long, animated discussion in the dugout with Molina? Dave Eiland has a lot of projects on his hands!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Oh – and Lugo? I think the desert planet of Remus in the Romulan Empire would be just fine. And he would have to go and get a pinch hit last night…..

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

Good article man! =) As a Phillies fan, I love reading of Mets blunders and what not, but I’ll have to admit, once again as a Phillies fan, that I slapped my forehead when you made Charlie the Mets manager. Lol. Then, as it would have bothered me all night, I had to point out that that’s actually Jerry Manuel. Great article though, and I know that if I was a Mets fan and saw what Luis Castillo did, there wouldn’t be a place far enough on Earth that I’d want to send him to… =D

A three game lead! Oh – can you hear me okay or should I speak a little louder? ;-) And who had a great game offensively and defensively? Julio Lugo! I can not figure that man out. But as long as it all working I like it!

Have a great day!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

The romulan empire is still too close for Lugo…give him to the Borg, it’ll drop the collective’s IQ by a gazillion…or maybe we could find his home planet and return him. Geez, I’m bad today.
What’s with Joba? I thought he was supposed to be the next big this out of NY? Looks like AJ’s doing better.
Ginny

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